“Unfortunately I am pulling out of Davis Cup this week. I came to Tokyo believing my ankle would recover but it is not at a level where I feel I can compete or help my team,"
With that, as announced by a Tennis Canada press release, Canada's Davis Cup team suddenly has a mountain to climb in their first round tie against Japan. To make matters worse, Vasek Pospisil's back injury still plagues him as he readies for Tokyo, causing him to only be listed during the doubles match paired with Nestor, though veteran Montreal tennis blogger Stephanie Myles doubts he'll even play then.
When the tie starts tomorrow (Fri, Jan 31st) we'll see Peter Polansky and Frank Dancevic hoping to make up for Canada's two top singles players' absences. They'll play Nishikori and Soeda respectively. Saturday will see the doubles action where Nestor/Pospisil are scheduled against Sugita/Uchiyama, followed by the reverse of Friday's singles matches on Sunday.
Davis cup is a team event, it won't be the first time Polansky or Dancevic has faced this kind of pressure in the international team competition, and there's the comfort that if they were to succeed, it won't have been the first time for that, either.
— Milos Raonic (@milosraonic) January 31, 2014
This article is great. The reason we all like Bouchard and Ivanovic is because they're nice. They don't seem like they're bullies or were "mean girls" in high school. Something tells me many at the top of the women's game are taking it too seriously.
<< From The West Australian 2014-01-22
Wow, Genie continues to impress in Melbourne, defeating Ana Ivanovic 5-7, 7-5, 6-2 today.
"Magical run for Bouchard continues Down Under with win over Ivanovic" by Rachel Brady in Globe and Mail: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/more-sports/canadian-bouchard-reaches-australian-open-semi-final-with-win-over-ivanovic/article16425350/
tweets with good pics:
— Lagardere Unlimited (@LagardereTennis) January 21, 2014
Update 17 Jan: Rough match for Milos, he'll be disappointed I think. Dimitrov moves on, 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 7-6(10).
Genie Bouchard is still in though... She'll be playing up first versus unseeded Australian Casey Dellacqua in the night session on Rod Laver Arena tomorrow. She and her partner upset #11 seeds in doubles today too!
Update - 1030pm Eastern, 13 Jan:
Milos' match vs Hanescu should be starting now, but the extreme heat policy is in effect until at least 4pm local. The courts with roofs they can close will play on...
Update - 11pm Eastern, 13 Jan:
Milos "cruises" through to 2nd round (see Globe and Mail article here - http://www.theglobeandmail.com/sports/more-sports/canadas-milos-raonic-advances-to-second-round-at-australian-open/article16320799/), joining Genie and Vasek - lots of good news for Canada at this year's Aussie Open so far. Dancevic is scheduled to play later, his match will be streamed on TSN.ca.
I wasn't able to watch - but I got this comment in from Andrew (sent from a Canmore, Alberta internet (IP) address) which was directed toward Milos. Very good comment, anyone else have anything to add?
Hey I was watching the game tonight. You played great. I noticed you changed your shirt and hat; and went downhill THERE IS A REASON FOR THIS! Your hat was a different brim and lower sitting your shirt was more reflective being white. This changed the light aperture from the court to your eyes. I seems harmless but it throws off your sight which can be devastating especially at 100 of mph. The brim how it sits the light reflection off your shirt
Not such a great draw for Milos for the Aussie Open. First two rounds aside he’s got a tough path to go through after that. Dimitrov is tricky opponent who finished his 2013 pretty strong and will look to further his progress here. Del Potro I think has a pretty good chance of winning this tournament and he too has been playing very well. Nadal of course is the number one player in the world. Couldn’t have asked for a tougher draw in my opinion, but Milos does have the ability.
Pospisil will have 2 winnable matchups to start with groth followed by Ebden/Mahut. He then gets a rematch with Wawrinka. I thought he played very well against Stan a week ago before retiring with an injury. He earned quite a few break opportunities but was just unable to convert them. I look forward to this rematch and I hope the week off helped Vasek recover quickly.
Eugenie has a Chinese qualifier followed by an opponent that will be ranked around 100. Errani is up in the third round and while she is ranked 7th in the world she doesn’t seem to have a lot of success recently and seems like a favourable potential opponent for Bouchard. I see this as a pretty favourable draw for her, although I admit I am not as familiar with players in the WTA.
I do think there is a pretty good chance we see all three of the seeded Canadians into the third round. They seem to have avoided any potential landmines from the unseeded players in the early rounds. This should be a very exciting tournament to watch. [Sam]
Dec. 28 -- Although the Hopman Cup > http://hopmancup.com/ < doesn't carry any ATP or WTA points, it's a great choice for Milos and his partner Genie Bouchard to warm up for the Australian Open, and another opportunity to carry the flag for Canada: three guaranteed singles matches on alternating days (and a shot at the Final for a fourth) plus mixed doubles. Canada is in Group A with Australia, Poland and Italy, and started off day one with a bang, defeating host Australia thanks to an upset 4-6 6-2 6-3 victory by Genie over Sam Stoser, following Milos' workmanlike but convincing 7-6 6-1 win over Bernard Tomic. A point-by-point commentary can be found at: http://www.theroar.com.au/2013/12/28/bernard-tomic-vs-milos-raonic-2014-hopman-cup-live-scores-blog/ < Read from bottom up. Tomic and Stoser did win the mixed doubles 6-2 6-4 but that was a dead rubber which will only count against Canada if they end up tied with one of the other Group A teams. So right now Canada is looking pretty good for that Final slot vs the winner of the Group B round-robin.
Milos has won the Lionel Conacher Award as Canada's male athlete of 2013:
And, news from the Hopman Cup, where Milos is paired with Genie Bouchard, teeing off vs Bernard Tomic and Sam Stoser Dec. 28:
Not sure if people caught this: A uniquely Canadian interviewer and a unique Canadian tennis player in the "red chairs".
Actually some decent questions, the kind of stuff your run-of-the-mill Rogers sports guy doesn't ask!
Milos' comments from the article:
"A lot of it came from my parents—having that expected from me, whether it be in tennis or at school. I remember I would come home with a low-90s, high-80s mark and my parents would say, “We want better.” I was always a little timid about it, but the moment when I said, “Okay, I can really do this,” was when I decided to go pro in 2008. That was a week before I was supposed to show up to university—I had signed a letter of intent to go to the University of Virginia—but I said, “No, I’m going to go the pro route.” And even then, the goals and objectives were very different from what they are now. Now it’s about being the best in the world, whereas in 2008, I would’ve been happier with much [less]."
"There are two moments that I would say are the best moments for me this year. Most of it happened on home soil in Canada, and every match I played there [I was wearing a maple leaf]. That was the Davis Cup and the Masters in Montreal. To have those moments, especially in Montreal, that had more significance because I was struggling—that’s when I got it back together and started finding the answers within myself."
Another Win for Milos! >> http://www.sportsnet.ca/tennis/raonic-named-sportsnets-athlete-of-the-year/ <<
Here's a reasonably balanced review of Milos' 2013 season, including a few bits that might be worth discussing with his coach:
Milos Raonic: first-ever Canadian to crack top-ten, led our Canadian Davis Cup team to the Semi-Finals for the first time.
Milos with Filip Peliwo at the World Tour Finals, London
Milos named Tennis Canada Male Player of the Year 2013
Photo: Austin Nunn via Twitter
Update, 31 Oct:
Milos goes down in straights- a tight first set and subsequent tie-break: Berdych wins 7-6(13), 6-4. I didn't see it, but Kyle has commented that he "imploded", must have been near the end of the second set. Anyone have anything to add?
All in all, Milos had a good run near the end of the season, but probably bit off more than he could chew in retrospect. His last ditch effort to make the tour finals was unsuccessful after all, but man did he try.
In the match today he had 18 aces but 5 fouble faults. In the first set he saw 3 break points and faced none himself. He was unable to convert. He did not have a chance to break in the second set, but Berdych converted one of his total of 3 chances. While his first serve % was 68% in the first set, it dropped below 50% in the second set...
Looking forward to 2014!
[Nice pic of Milos at net with Berdych at end, and good details about Milos' "underhand ace" to finish the match with Haase.]
The 3rd round match between Milos Raonic vs. Thomas Berdych will take place on Court 1, not before 4:30pm local (11:30am Eastern). As the Frenchmen and top-4 clog up Centre Stage, top-10ers like Raonic, Berdych and del Po are relegated to Court 1 for the day (though Almagro/Wawrinka did break that mold- they played first on Centre Court today, with Wawrinka winning 6-3, 6-2).
Update: October 30th:
Milos wins 6-3, 6-4. Gotta like how Haase was only able to win 3% (1/31) first serve pts. He won 6 of Milos' 16 second serve pts. Robin Haase had no break point opportunities while Raonic was able to break twice in five total chances. Total points were 58-41 for Milos Raonic.
Update, 29 Oct:
Milos is up versus Robin Haase not before 8:30pm local, or 3:30pm Eastern. He's following Federer (not before 7:30pm), the Main Event on Court Central - it's as if they were thinking about us Canadians at home when they scheduled it : ). Hopefully folks don't have to work late tomorrow!
Tues, Oct 29:
Update: Pospisil gets a break. He just started against Andujar after Monfils was forced to withdraw after suffering an injury during practice yesterday. Full, long article here:
Monday, October 28th:
Pospisil is up tomorrow (Tuesday) against Monfils on Centre Court. Raonic is not scheduled, but Djokovic is up as the final match on Centre Court so the 2nd round is starting tomorrow... Milos'll probably play on Wednesday.
Pospisil's match is 2nd up on the main court, starting around 1pm local (8am Eastern).
Sat, Oct 26th:
Vashy is up against Feds now in Basel semi. Down a break in the 1st set, and potentially about to go down another... [...but the match did not continue on in its FedEXpected way; see Comments for more.]
From Sam yesterday:
"Paris draw has been announced. Only way for Milos to make the World Tour finals without someone else withdrawing is to make the finals and get a little help with 2 of Gasquet, Tsonga, Wawrinka and Federer not going deep into the tournament. His draw is ideal in my opinion. First Round bye, second round istomin/qualifier, third round berdych/pospisil/monfils, quarters ferrer/simon, semis nadal/tsonga
Berdych is a guy that Milos has been able to beat, Ferrer I believe is the most beatable on this surface out of the top 4 seeds, and Nadal typically has not been as dominant at the end of season tournaments. Obviously a tough ask to make the final but a good season none the less particularly the second half.
As for Pospisil, who's made the semis this week in Basel, he gets a tough first round opponent in Monfils and should he get through that a rematch of his big Rogers Cup victory over Berdych. I would love to see a Milos/Vasek R16 showdown to finish one of their seasons off in Paris, but of course Vasek has Federer to worry about tomorrow first."
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